God and The Octopus
Can one truly connect a mollusk sea creature to the existence of God? While it may seem a frivolous attempt, I believe the world of octopuses (apparently octopi is incorrect) provides a beautiful picture of why our superiority as humans may be in question.
A recently tweeted video proclaims all the splendors and accomplishments of the lowly octopus. These eight tentacled beasts are thought to have been the first intelligent life form on the planet! They have been loitering in the depths of our seas for 400 million years! They can change colors, squirt poison, and have 10,000 more genes than humans!
Unless you consider the venomous words of the human tongue poisonous, it would seem the octopus has quite the leg up on us humans.
Or a tentacle up, perhaps.
The video concludes that in the EU, octopuses must be anesthetized for surgery due to their “intelligence and cognitive ability”! Astounding.
Given that our planet is 71% covered by water (their natural habitat), plus the octopus' seniority, intelligence, and unique abilities, natural selection may have the octopus coming out on top in the years to come. We humans assume superiority, but I don’t recall ever witnessing a thief camouflaging their skin to escape incarceration.
If genetics and evolution are truly all there is, perhaps we should consider stepping off the worldly stage and let our more superior, elder cousins take their rightful place? The ocean is thought to be encroaching on our habitats, but maybe we have it all wrong.
Now, this probably seems rather silly. After all the octopus cannot drive a tank or fly a drone (that we know of). Surely we have no reason to fear some future octopus/human struggle for existence (we hope). But this journey through mollusk culture begs the question:
Why do we think humans are the most valuable creature on the planet? The most intelligent? The only animals capable of moral thought and philosophy? If our only creators are chemistry and biology, what makes our lives any more valuable and treasured than the octopus?
Perhaps it’s the same reason we don’t discard the humans who no longer contribute to society. Nor do we label humans with a Best by date. We may anesthetize octopuses, but we do far greater medical gymnastics to keep the unknown, the elderly, or the terminally ill person alive.
Why? What kind of speciesism would it take to value the weak human lives that natural selection should leave behind?
It can only be one thing: the Imago Dei. The intrinsic value and sacredness of human life that was not bestowed by DNA, gravity, or scientific formula. Our ultimate value is not judged by our deeds, our words, our contributions, or our ideas.
Our value comes from the Creator.
It is the only meaningful difference between the mollusk and the man: one is made in His image. The other is not.
Just as we see the sacredness of life at every human moment, from the helpless elderly to the helpless embryo, so God sees the value of every person He created.
That is why you, dear reader, are intrinsically valuable. Calamari has nothing on you.